Judging from a recently leaked design prototype, Instagram might soon hide the Like counts from people who view your posts. Although it looks like a small tweak in design, this change could have a huge impact on everyone on the platform: artists who show off their work, influencers, or casual Instagram users.
The design change test was first spotted by app researcher Jane Manchun Wong, who shared it on Twitter along with a screenshot of the change:
Instagram is testing hiding like count from audiences,
as stated in the app: "We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get" pic.twitter.com/MN7woHowVN
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) April 18, 2019
As you can see in the screenshot, when someone views your post and checks out the likes, all they can see is “[a name] and others like your post,” instead of [a name] and [a number of] others like your post.” The only person who will be able to see the exact number of likes would be the person who posted the content. Describing the change, Instagram writes:
“We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get. During this test, only the person who shares a post will see the total number of likes it gets.”
TechCrunch got to speak to Instagram about the test feature. The company’s spokesperson confirmed the design is an internal prototype and that it isn’t visible to the public yet: “We’re not testing this at the moment, but exploring ways to reduce pressure on Instagram is something we’re always thinking about.”
Personally, I believe that implementing this change would be fantastic. It could indeed take some pressure off people who have become kinda “addicted” to likes. It would reduce the competition and make people focus on the content they post, not on the number of likes they get. Also, many people do some crazy stuff just for the sake of likes, and some of them end tragically. Hopefully, the number of selfie-related incidents could decrease as well. On the other hand, hiding the Like counts could make people like what they actually find pleasing, instead of relying on the “herd mentality” and like what already has many likes.
Honestly, I’d also like to see what it would be like if no one could see the number of likes on posts, not even the people who share them. I know this will never happen because Instagram would probably lose a lot of users. But on the other hand, maybe it could give an answer to many of us to the question: “If nobody cared, would you still take pictures?”